Royal Challengers Bangalore v Rajasthan Royals, IPL 2013, Bangalore April 20, 2013

RCB go top with continued home streak


Royal Challengers Bangalore 123 for 3 (Gayle 49*) beat Rajasthan Royals 117 (Dravid 35, RP Singh 3-13, Vinay Kumar 3-18) by 7 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

On high-scoring grounds, Rajasthan Royals depend a lot on Shane Watson, and as he has been doing with Australia in their unfortunate run, Watson let Royals down too. From the moment Watson was caught superbly by Murali Kartik for six off 9, Royals limped through their innings for an inadequate 117. Royal Challengers Bangalore threatened the fashionable, inexplicable collapse, but a restrained Chris Gayle took them through with more than two overs to spare.

R Vinay Kumar operated intelligently against the middle order lacking in firepower, and his strikes kept pegging Royals back. The big wicket of Watson, though, went to Ravi Rampaul. Watson had begun with a four first ball, but was getting uneasy with his inability to find gaps at the top of the innings. In the third over, he tried to bludgeon one, but Murali Kartik took a smart overhead catch at mid-off.

Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane couldn't hit out, and Rahane was consumed by that pressure. Stuart Binny hit a few lusty ones, eventually took the run-rate past a run a ball, in the ninth over, but was bounced out by Karnataka team-mate Vinay in the next over. Dravid, given a rousing welcome by the "home" crowd, struggled so much that his strike-rate reached 100 only in the 14th over. He had faced 27 balls by then.

The pressure of all those dots was all consuming. Dravid holed out to long-on. Brad Hodge fell to Vinay trying to run one down. RP Singh then had a good time with the lower order, and picked up three for himself.

Unscarred Royal Challengers - with Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers their top four - would have blasted their way through this target and boosted their net run rate. This side, though, has been turning regulation matches into thrillers of late, and didn't eliminate drama despite a 53-run opening stand in 6.4 overs.

Watson, bowling for the first time in 2013, delayed the finish with the wickets of Dilshan and de Villiers. Kohli fell to James Faulkner in between. At 64 for 3 after nine overs, Gayle put his head down, and in the company of Saurabh Tiwary, who was playing his first match of the season, chose the middle path between a lightning chase and a dramatic one despite all the we-want-six chants from the crowd. He did give them what they wanted, but only after scores were level, raising his arms to seemingly tell the crowd he can hit them but chose not to. It was good enough to put their team joint-top on the table with a game in hand.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahmad on April 21, 2013, 22:50 GMT

    Ravi Rampaul should get Man of the Match for taking 3 superb catches and 2 wickets.

  • Siddharth on April 21, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    "RCB go top with continued home streak" - Well how many matches long is the streak? You left out the main piece of information you promised with the headline....

  • ttn on April 21, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    Tait is a unreliable bowler, Faulkner is just another ordinary bowler.Both should be out and Fidel and Badree should be in.Hodge is well past his prime. Rahane,Dravid playing test cricktet at the top. With Watson playing only cross batted hockey shots this is just a mediocre team. Chandila doen't turn the ball, Trivedi the Medium pacer of medium pacers and Lord Sreesanth the erratic.this is just a mediocre team

  • sam on April 21, 2013, 8:18 GMT

    RCB's best possible line-up is Aggarwal, Gayle, Kohli, ABD, Pujara, Henriques, wk and the bowlers. Tiwary can play in place of Pujara as long as Pujara is unfit. Dilshan is a far better batsman than Henriques but Henriques provides great all round options which is important. Playing Henriques in only 3 games have been a mistake. And Murali replaces Rampaul in spin friendly conditions.

  • Dummy4 on April 21, 2013, 7:38 GMT

    Have ppl seriously forgotten about the T20 WC so soon? Watto was MoM for 3 consecutive matches for Aus... that's mediocre?? Even here he played well in last 2 matches.. RR scored 180 against MI 'cause his initial burst let Rahane settle down. With Watson bowling now as well, he'll walk into almost any T20 side in the world. Stop judging form after every single match

  • Senthil on April 21, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Kohli is right. We are all glad this match did not go to the last ball. Still, RCB could have won without some thrills. But RCB should watch out against compacency, because their top order is used to good batting conditions in Bengaluru. Many away games will be played on surfaces that don't help free flowing batting that much. Also this idea of Gayle changing the character of his batting is not a good idea. He should be allowed to be himself. Trust Ray Jennings to confuse things for the team. Why is he talking about Kohli for India captaincy I wonder. That's not going to go down well with the BCCI!

  • Kavin on April 21, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    How long Watson is going to carry this poor form? How long will he take to start performing for Australia, RR and Sydney Sixers? He has been in awful form for more than 18-20 months now and he is still playing these not-needed type of shots? He needs to pull up his socks because he can not live on the past reputation or else he will have to face exactly what happened to Sehwag, Gambhir and Bhajji in indian team.